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  • Writer's pictureProject Black Girl

How Western Beauty Standards Affect Black Women in the Workplace


In professional settings, the influence of Western beauty standards significantly shapes perceptions of beauty and professionalism, particularly to the detriment of black women. These standards, deeply ingrained in societal norms, prioritize Eurocentric features, such as straight hair, and perpetuate an environment where black women often feel marginalized and undervalued. 

According to the 2019 CROWN Workplace Research study, Black women reported an 83% higher likelihood of facing harsh judgments based on their appearance compared to other women. The pressure to conform to these standards not only leads to feelings of inadequacy but also has profound effects on their self-esteem and sense of belonging in the workplace. These standards affect various aspects of workplace dynamics, including hiring practices, performance evaluations, and opportunities for advancement.

Consequently, black women may find themselves overlooked for promotions, subjected to unfair treatment, or even excluded from certain career opportunities due to these biases. Beyond the workplace, these biases perpetuate societal stereotypes and contribute to broader systemic inequalities, hindering progress toward true equality and inclusion.

Empowering Black Women

Empowering black women in the workplace requires a multifaceted approach that challenges traditional beauty norms and promotes diversity and inclusion at all levels of organizational culture. Providing comprehensive education and training on unconscious bias is essential to raising awareness of the detrimental impact of Western beauty standards and fostering an environment of mutual respect among employees. Moreover, implementing inclusive policies and practices that accommodate diverse hair textures and styles is crucial in dismantling barriers to advancement faced by black women.

In efforts to create inclusive beauty standards,  Hairvine serves as a source of empowerment for black women in professional spaces, by offering tailored solutions for navigating textured hair care. Hairvine functions as a marketplace and community for personalized textured hair care, facilitating connections between clients and a range of offerings, including products, stylists, advice, and education, all tailored to meet individual needs. With a diverse array of personalized products, expert stylists, and tailored resources specifically designed for diverse hair textures, the platform not only enhances the well-being of users but also promotes self-confidence and self-expression. 

The pervasive influence of Western beauty standards continues to impact the experiences of black women in the workplace. However, by actively challenging these norms, promoting inclusivity, and embracing diversity, organizations can create environments where all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to embrace their authentic selves. 

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